Time is a concrete absolute. Minutes pass, the sun changes position in the sky, seasons change and time marches on. Lately I’ve noticed how fluid and subjective our perception of time is. We’re so familiar with this concept that it’s built into our language. Time flies when you’re having fun. That line took forever to move. I lost track of time.
Some days or hours seem to speed up or slow down depending on how much we are or are not enjoying ourselves. I observed recently after being asleep for an hour and having three different dreams that seemed to take several hours each, that dreams are proof that the human mind really can handle the concept of eternity. We are not as bound to time as we think we are. But despite that, time continues to pass, marching at its own rhythm, whether we want it to or not.
I’ve been thinking about this lately as I watch my children growing up. They are my babies, but I see less of babies and more of children in them all the time. Their ingenuity, their growing perception of the world around them, their language and understanding is always changing, maturing, leaving babyhood behind forever. And although I’m not a baby person at all, and I’m glad I can have somewhat meaningful conversations with them now, there are moments that I wish I could store in a bottle and keep forever. When my son learns a new word or my daughter sits in the grass in her Cinderella dress and looks like she’s contemplating some deep secret of life, or when they play together in that style unique to siblings, when they’re cooperating and endearing one moment and screaming and fighting the next. Toddler tantrums are something I could live without but toddler language is delightful. And the hugs. I know someday I’ll miss the hugs.
So here’s what I wonder. Do we get to keep these moments? How clear will our memories be in that mysterious plane of existence that we call heaven? Will we get a chance to sit and relive these times that make this brief life sweet and worth living? I don’t know what time or memory will look like in eternity, but I know there are moments that I never want to forget.